Thursday, April 05, 2007

Northern Lights

Just finished (re) reading Philip Pullman's Northern Lights/Golden Compass - the title was different in the US. I am sure that most people visiting here will have read it already, but I am doing a review anyway, so there!

I read it quite a few years ago and thought I would reread it as the movie version is coming out later this year and I want to see how that compares to the novel.

The novel is about a girl called Lyra, aged about 12, who lives in one of the Oxford colleges with the grumpy old scholars. In this society/world there is an unusual feature in that each person has a daemon (an animal) of their own. The daemons can change shape at will and cannot be very far from their master, but as a child grows older, his/her daemon settles on a shape and will no longer change form.

There is a new terror in the land which is the Gobblers, a mysterious group who kidnap children and do horrible things to them. Lyra sets off to find a boy she knows who has been kidnapped and she travels North where she sees the Aurora Borealis (hence the title of the book). On her journey she is helped by various characters, of which my favourite is the armoured bear, Iorek Byrnison - I can't wait to see what the movie people make of him.

Pic of the Northern lights
There is a lot of science to this book, and also a bit of philosophy, as well as theology - especially towards the end which I liked.

A great story, very well written and well worth looking out for - like Harry Potter (which is no bad thing!) but for those who want something a bit more challenging, it is a bit more intellectual than your average Potter book (stands back and waits for the flack).

Guardian newspaper - review here


Kelly said...

I agree. This is an amazing book.

lifelongreader said...

I want to read the others in the series now - if I can find them :)